Belfast Telegraph

Mike Nesbitt quotes Nazi Goebbels to refute Belfast mosque funding claims

The tweet caused confusion on social media

By Claire Williamson

Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt caused a stir on social media as he drew upon Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels to again dispel rumours over false claims he supported public funding for a Belfast mosque.

Mr Nesbitt has consistently denied claims that he would support the public funding of a mosque in south Belfast.

In April this year he took to Facebook to say that there was a "politically motivated rumour" spread about him suggesting he supports public funds for a Belfast mosque.

He said: "This is not true.

"There is a politically motivated rumour that is spread over social media from time to time, suggesting I support public funds for a mosque in Belfast.

"This is not true. I have visited the Belfast Islamic Centre in Wellington Park. It is clearly past its best and I have no difficulty supporting the hospital consultants and others who want a better community hub.

"They are applying for planning permission to move to the building in the attached image. No towers. No minarets. No loudspeakers to blast out the call to prayers.

"No one is admitting responsibility for spreading the rumour. But hey, propaganda worked for Hitler, for a while.

"So, for the avoidance of doubt - I do not support the use of public money to build a mosque.

It followed an interview in 2014 with a daily newspaper where the party leader discussed the number of Muslims in Northern Ireland and was quoted as saying they "do not have one appropriate place of worship".

However the UUP leader who recently moved to form the Northern Ireland Assembly's first official opposition caused confusion and was criticised on Monday night as he again moved to dispel rumours by posting a quote from Goebbels on social media saying "A lie, repeated a thousand times becomes a truth".

He captioned it: "How true, all you who accused me of wanting public money for a Mosque in Belfast."

Social media users reacted calling it "strange" while others questioned if Goebbels was "really the best person you could find to quote".

When the Belfast Telegraph asked the UUP to clarify the tweet a spokesman said: "The point is people spread lies using social media."

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